• STAFF CHANGES: This month's editorial by Lynn Kinsky marks her last official contribution to REASON in her capacity as editor. Her departure takes effect with this issue. Ms. Kinsky has made valuable contributions to REASON, and we wish her well.
Beginning this month, Joe Cobb takes over responsibility for the Viewpoint column. A frequent REASON contributor, Mr. Cobb is secretary of the Economic Civil Liberties Association, a director of the Economic Education and Research Forum (a nonprofit organization aimed at investors and business people), a member of the Judicial Committee of the Libertarian Party and is active in the Libertarian Party of Illinois. Mr. Cobb is a former editor of New Individualist Review and received his A.B. degree in economics from the University of Chicago in 1966. He is presently doing graduate work at the University of Chicago. All information regarding the activities of libertarian and other pro-freedom organizations which may be appropriate to mention in Frontlines should be sent to Joe Cobb, Box 1776, Chicago, IL 60690.
Also effective this month, Marty Zupan has taken over the task of copy editing. In addition to serving as REASON's book review editor, Ms. Zupan is a graduate student in the Ph.D. program in economics at the University of Rochester's Graduate School of Management and she has published articles in various periodicals, including REASON, Libertarian Review, The Freeman and Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences.
• CHALLENGE TO CONSERVATIVES: A significant essay by Edith Efron, entitled "Conservatism: A Libertarian Challenge," appears in the October 1975 issue of the conservative publication, The Alternative. Ms. Efron, a contributing editor of TV Guide and author of The News Twisters, raises the question "What do conservatives think?" and concludes that conservatives are essentially collectivists and statists in their adherence to such concepts as Obedience to Authority and Tradition. Ms. Efron suggests that only libertarians take seriously the concept of the inalienable individual right to liberty. The article is provocative and well worth reading. The October issue of The Alternative is available for 80¢ from P.O. Box 877, Bloomington, Indiana 47401.
• SANTA ANA REGISTER: The major newspaper in Santa Ana, California is The Register, a member of the chain of Freedom Newspapers. The paper consistently carries well-written editorials, written from a libertarian perspective by Ken Grubbs. We are pleased to note that the July 14, 1975 issue of The Register contained a lead editorial, "The Bribery Business" which discussed the July REASON editorial, "Political Payoffs: Is Bribery a Nonvictim Crime?" The Register voiced agreement with REASON's distinction between two types of payoffs—those made to remove improper obstacles to voluntary business activity (e.g., a bribe paid to a censor to allow sale of an antigovernment newspaper), which should not be illegal, and those which are made to coercively gain a business advantage (e.g., a payoff to obtain an exclusive license or a tax subsidy), which are immoral and should be outlawed.
• GUN CONTROL: The Santa Barbara News Press recently published the letter of a retired Navy Admiral opposing federal handgun controls. A few days later, he was severely beaten by a student who came to the retired officer's home, grabbed him by the throat, and asked him whether he was the writer of the letter against gun control. We'd be interested in knowing whether advocates of gun control laws can come up with a law that could prevent such senseless violence.
• GROWTH OF INDEPENDENTS: A Gallup Poll survey published in September found that the proportion of Americans who identify themselves as Republicans has declined to its lowest point in 35 years. In the latest Gallup survey, 21 percent of those questioned said they were Republicans, 44 percent called themselves Democrats, and a record high of 35 percent classed themselves as independents.
The October 13 issue of Time contained its latest "Soundings," a quarterly survey of the outlook of Americans. According to Time, "Soundings" found that 40 percent of those polled preferred the Democrats, while only 13 percent favor the Republicans and 47 percent consider themselves neutral.
It's about time that pollsters began to specifically ask people who identify themselves as independents or neutrals whether they consider themselves Libertarians. As a step in this direction, George Gallup, Jr., recently advised Ed Crane, Libertarian Party National Chairman, that the Gallup Poll "shall certainly endeavor to gauge the libertarian movement." Let's hope they do. In the meantime, readers might consider writing to any pollster who seems oblivious of the growing libertarian movement, to help assure that the right questions will be asked.